Orientation and Vocabulary Boost: Guiding the Chemistry Freshmen to University Labs

1 April 2019

First-year students of Chemistry Department attended the English-speaking excursion tour to the laboratories. In turn, the fourth-year students acted as guides, thereby submitting their credit assignment for the English elective course run by Nadezhda Petrunina, Associate Professor of Department of Foreign Languages. The event became possible thanks to the language project “Development of foreign language competence of TSU students.”

Andrey Pavlenko introduced the visitors to the laboratory of polymers and composite materials and told them about the history of the lab and about its main research tasks. He also clarified the mechanisms of polymerization and polycondensation as the main methods of obtaining polymer-based materials. Next, the participants attended the laboratory of catalytic research where Alexey Taratayko spoke about the importance and priority of catalytic processes for the contemporary research in chemistry and described the principles of the complex analytical set-ups installed in the lab. Finally, Irina Glukhova cast some light on organic synthesis and vividly demonstrated certain aspects of this branch.

Valeria Sitnikova, group 08801b: I was fortunate enough to attend an English-speaking tour of the laboratories that the fourth-year students had arranged. This is a good opportunity to practice professional English, as well as to become familiar with the work carried out in the laboratories of polymers, catalysis, and organic synthesis, to ask questions and to get an answer from the senior students. I think that in the near future, this information will help me choose the area of research. I would like to thank the seniors for conducting this excursion. For me, they became an example of how one can master a foreign language.

Ksenia Kazantseva, group 08801b: Suddenly, it turned out to be interesting to see the labs, the equipment, and the real workflow. It is nice to know what your university labs are doing and what you can do in the not too faraway future. The guides have coped with a rather difficult task. Is is apparently quite difficult to speak about your work even in your native language. They were charismatic and oh so cute!

Maxim Zagvozkin, group 08801b: It was very nice to visit the labs of Chemistry Department and to see what the people are working on. The fourth-year students did brilliantly. Everything was not only to the point, but clearly delivered. And this is the most important. I think the choice of the lab that we will have to make soon has become a little easier thanks to this tour. Thank you all very much!

Maria Monakhova, group 08801b: We were able to observe the real workflow. And this is very interesting because you can see with your own eyes what this or that laboratory works on. Although I did not always understand everything that the guys said, it was still very nice to look at the labs, to learn about them, and to understand what level of English we will reach when we become seniors!

Miroslav Vasilyev, group 08801b: A very unusual experience, and a good test of our competence both in English and Chemistry. The fourth-year students prepared good speeches for us. This was a bit of sci-pop with professional vocabulary along the lines. This was also a first-hand information: the guides told us about their diploma papers. Our task was to catch all the nuances of the chemical processes. The result was symbiotic: the fourth-year students are preparing to complete their works and we are improving our English proficiency and testing our knowledge in the field of Chemistry.

The project team expresses their gratitude to Yuri Slizhov, the dean of Chemistry Department of TSU, and to Vladimir Botvin, Oleg Magayev,and Viktor Malkov, the Laboratory Heads, for their cooperation and assistance in holding the whole event.